Sustainable Procurement

ISO 20400:2017, Sustainable procurement – Guidance, provides guidance to organizations, independent of their activity or size, on integrating sustainability within procurement, as described in ISO 26000:2010, Guidance on social responsibility. It is intended for stakeholders involved in, or impacted by, procurement decisions and processes
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Procurement is a powerful instrument for organizations wishing to behave in a responsible way and contribute to sustainable development. By integrating sustainability in procurement policies and practices, including supply chains, organizations can manage risks (including opportunities) for sustainable environmental, social, and economic development.

Sustainable procurement represents an opportunity to provide more value to the organization by improving productivity; assessing value and performance; enabling communication between purchasers, suppliers, and all stakeholders; and by encouraging innovation.

The implementation of this standard considers the unique context and characteristics of each organization, scaling the application of the concepts to suit the size of the organization. The adoption of ISO 20400 by large organizations promotes opportunities for small and medium-sized organizations in their supply chains.

Understanding the fundamentals

Clause 4 provides an overview of sustainable procurement. It describes the principles and core subjects of sustainable procurement and examines why organizations undertake sustainable procurement. Important consideration is given to managing risks (including opportunities), addressing adverse sustainability impacts through due diligence, setting priorities, exercising positive influence, and avoiding complicity.

Integrating sustainability into the organization’s procurement policy and strategy

Clause 5 provides guidance on how sustainability considerations are integrated at a strategic level within the procurement practices of an organization, to ensure that the intention, direction, and key sustainability priorities of the organization are achieved. It is intended to assist top management in defining a sustainable procurement policy and strategy.

Organizing the procurement function towards sustainability

Clause 6 describes the organizational conditions and management techniques needed to successfully implement and continually improve sustainable procurement. The organization ensures that such conditions and practices are in place to assist individuals (with responsibility for the procurement of goods or services) to integrate sustainability considerations into the procurement process.

Integrating sustainability into the procurement process

Clause 7 addresses the procurement process and is intended for individuals who are responsible for the actual procurement within their organization. It is also of interest to those in associated functions, as it describes how sustainability considerations are integrated into existing procurement processes.

The 52-page ISO 20400:2017 standard can be ordered at this ISO web page for about $178.